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Big Bowel Movements Block Toilet

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Q. My 12-year-old daughter has very large bowel movements, so large, in fact, that she quite often plugs the toilet. They are hard and dry. She has no other health problems.

She eats a relatively well-balanced diet with lots of fruit and some veggies, but, of course, some junk food as well. She drinks water, juice and maybe a couple of pops a week. She is very active.

Her doctor suggested a teaspoon of Milk of Magnesia (MOM) a day. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. The label says not to take it more than two weeks and I am becoming concerned. I finally got her to tell me that she was holding her BMs in. I told her that if she stopped holding them, we could stop the MOM, and her problem would go away.

She has now assured me that she has stopped holding them in and we stopped the MOM, but the problem isn't gone. Do you have any suggestions? I don't like the thought of her taking MOM and becoming dependent on laxatives for the rest of her life.

A. If your daughter develops a laxative habit now, it could set her up for further problems with constipation later in life. Here are some alternatives: Ask her to drink a bit more water every day. A cool water bottle for her backpack might help. Pack more whole-grain fiber into her diet, perhaps with bran cereal or a bran muffin for breakfast.

Believe it or not, sugarless gum could be part of the solution. The sweeteners in them (mannitol, sorbitol) have a mild laxative action. Your daughter is likely to find gum a lot more enjoyable than Milk of Magnesia.

You will find lots more useful information in our Guide to Constipation and Digestive Disorders for more details and a tasty dynamite bran muffin recipe. Anyone else who would like to download these guides can click on the links. The cost is $2.00. When all else fails there is "Power Pudding" which nurses have been recommending for decades to help patients overcome constipation.

If you find these sorts of practical, affordable home remedies of interest, you may wish to subscribe to our *free* online newsletter. It offers questions and answers about drugs, home remedies, nutrition and non-drug approaches to healing; commentaries on the most pressing health issues of the day; special alerts on breaking health news as it happens and coverage of the top health headlines of the week.
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I don't have this problem but my wife and son do. But they don't clog up the toilet. I very seldom have a constipation problem because as soon as my body tells me it is ready to go I try to go. I am on the road a lot and find fast food joints a good place to use the bathroom. When you hold it, constipation can occur.

Concerning the girl who has large and hard bowlmovements: eating more fruit during the day is very helpful. My husband and I are on medications which create this problem as well. But lots of fruit is very helpful. We also share an apple almost every evening while watching TV. This eliminates this problem.

I also had this child's constipation problem until I was 57 and tried gluten free diet. That did the trick! Anytime I eat even 1 slice of wheat, bran or oat bread, problem returns.

Concerning the girl who has large and hard bowl movements: I also had this problem with my son and now with my grand child. In addition to drinking more water and cutting down on meat I found eating more fish and oatmeal with some almonds and some wallnuts to be very helpfull.

My grandson has this same problem dispite lots of fiber and fruit, and I followed advice given by a physician that due to our water's high level of calcium, that he was probably low in Magnesium. Being that it's a vital nutriunt it made sense to try. Works like a charm!

Since she is 12, I bet her holding in her bowel movements is connected with the situation at her school. Check into: the amount of time allowed to go to the bathroom; when and how often they are permitted to use the bathroom; the bathroom's cleanliness and what it smells like; are there stall doors? clean toilet paper? is that a place where teasing, hitting or even worse occcurs? is it monitored by an adult?

I discovered that ALL these were a problem at my daughter's fairly new, supposedly first-class middle school! It's a hidden problem that the principal and teachers didn't want to take seriously at first, but keep after it. My daughter and most of the girls in her class waited until they got home to use the bathroom. They were so used to holding it in that this habit continued into the weekends, too.

Our two boys had this problem while in school. Pre-teen and teenage children have an aversion to having BMs at school. In their high school, in fact, there were no doors on the stalls in the boys' bathrooms. Can you imaging the embarrassment?

Another thing; be patient. If you are not successful in just a couple minutes, stay put. Give it time. Maybe even five minutes later the muscles will begin moving things along.

I have had this problem for several years and I'm a grown, slim woman. Mine are not hard and dry, though.....just very large and unwieldy. I do not hold anything in, I eat lots of fruits and vegetables and very little meat, I drink water, but not gallons of it, and still have the di"stink"tion of knowing I can plug up any toilet anywhere at anytime.

The only med I take regularly is an allergy pill like Claritin D. I have learned to flush at exactly the right movement moment so that it will be whisked away. Usually it works.

Hope she isn't afflicted with this into her adult years.

Chitosan is a fiber pill made from shellfish. Before meals, take 1000 mg drinking 8 oz water. Morning and evening is probably enough. Not only does it softened a bowel movement, but it has stopped my friend's chronic diarrhea. I have been taking it for at least 10 years. When the large tablets became hard to swallow, I just started chewing them - no flavor.

I am not qualified to comment on the laxative use since I seldom use them. But having done almost all my own plumbing work for the past 40+ years I hope I can be of some help in this area.

It may be the toilet if these people use a different toilet from other household members.
It may be that the clogs come from the amount of feces, but could come from using too much paper. It will cost more water, but I suggest encouraging them to flush at least twice or even 3 times during the movement before the bowl gets too full. My city water costs me about 1 cents per gallon in water plus sewer cost so an extra dime or so is much cheaper than a plumber. To get clean some folks use more paper than others, so they could encourage them to flush half way during cleanup as well as immediately after the initial evacuation of feces.

Magnesium and/or Vitamin C work well as a laxative.

Metamucil daily might be an answer, also MiraLax. Metamucil on a regular basis could help achieve regularity and keep the stool soft.

I have had problems with toilets for years. We built a new house a couple of years ago and I installed the American Standard Champion 4 toilet. This is the one you see flushing the golf balls. It has a 2 3/8” trapway and 4” flush valve. I have filled it with wet paper towels and it will flush anything I put in it. While this will not correct the condition, it will handle it. Other manufacturers make similar type toilets. I have had good success with this one.

1/2c. apple juice+ 1/2c. prune juice warm or spearmint tea, or aloe vera juice can also help.

A great remedy for constipation is
1 T Sesame Seeds
1 T Ground Flax Seeds
1 T Sunflower Seeds

Mix together and put in a salad or in yogurt. Eat daily. Problem solved!

I sympathize with this girl. I am 56 and have had this problem all my adult life. I have tried stool softeners, oatmeal (plugged me up like nothing else!!), fiber cereal, drinking lots of water, prunes, lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, beans, fiber supplements, etc. etc. etc. I am now ready to try the suggestion of going gluten-free to see if that works. It is terribly embarrassing to go to someone's home and not want to 'go' for fear of plugging it up. This is not comfortable or fun, and those who have not experienced it absolutely do not understand.

I have had a similar problem for a number of years - bowel movements not hard, but very large, often clogging toilets. Medical attention, dietary changes, etc., have unfortunately had no effect.

I finally got a toilet that is specially designed not to clog, period, no matter what. It has 100% lived up to its advertising and has been a godsend. If you have this issue, check out the Champion series of toilets made by American Standard. Of course, pursue all the options to diagnose and correct the problem - but if they don't work, this at least eliminates the most embarrassing practical consequences.

Have your daughter's thyroid checked. Our daughter had the same problem so we had her see a gastro doctor and he discovered she needed thyroid medication.

This could have been my Mother writing about me. I have been constipated all my life. My Mother's family have all had colon cancer and I developed Crohn's Disease at 40 (I am now 74).

I learned to eat a salad every day for lunch. If I need it I can take fiber capsules and that helps. But now I take a powdered magnesium supplement which really helps. I have never tried any food that worked so taking a laxitive, etc. for life is easier than being constipated and it hasn't seemed to hurt me. Good Luck to her and I share her misery.

some people with 'allergies' to milk (dairy) products and/ or carbs can have this problem... allergies to foods or possible lack of some vitamin or an illnesses you don't know. Also, some people (my daughter ) get help with aloe vera juice and coffee... not everyone can use the same solutions, you probably need to find your own.

There seem to be three issues here;
1. School latrine access and safety. This should be checked, and work with the school nurse, administration and PTA, etc. If this is a problem, it is a serious public health issue!

2. Constipation: one nurse recommended drinking alternate glasses/cups of hot and cold water. Personally I find coffee, (even decaf) works for me when I have a problem.

3. The toilet itself. If it's an older one, mineral buildup may have narrowed the channel. We had this problem with an older toilet. My husband took it outside, and scraped off the mineral buildup which solved the problem. We don't put paper down the toilet but in a wastebasket and dispose of it with trash. Having lived in parts of Asia with 3rd world plumbing, we don't like to clog up the system whether it's a septic tank or city sewer!

Your daughter's situation has highlighted 2 areas that are not her problems, and the we do pray she is able to find a solution to the constipation without going to the laxative route.

I too have a serious constipation problem.

GEEZ -- I have AT LEAST 6 BM's each and every single day, the first one (huge) within 5 min. of arising and then 2 or 3 more large BM's, and the rest are smaller but quite worthy. All are soft. I find if I eat lots of fruit (which I usually do), I go even more! I also eat lots of flax oil and coconut oil and whole grains, which may make a difference too.

I just cannot imagine not being able to move one's bowels. My heart goes out... But do have your daughter eat lots of fruit, especially late at night, and also lots of good oil and whole grains. Can't imagine this wouldn't do the trick. Cheers.

I wonder if this girl could have a problem with lactose intolerance? At 12 years old you are too young to know you have a problem with dairy products. I suffered from lactose intolerance as a child and did not know anything about it until I noticed how much better I was doing when I went away to college and realized it was because I wasn't drinking any milk like my parents gave me nearly every day at home.

I am pregnant and I want a medicine which is safe for constipation, as I feel filled bowel but when I go to toilet I can not evacuate... please help me. thanks

Regarding this condition, yes, it's a known condition in children that can follow them into teenage years.

It is called Encopresis. It has a name. Search the internet for more info than I can give you.

My son had it for many years about 4 years old until about 12. He was always wetting the bed or when 3 or so, when we were out would not make it to the bathroom in time. This would go on for a few days and then a day or two before he would do his bowel movement, he would get terrible pains in the stomach and hold on to chair backs and make grimacing faces. I was beside myself.

I brought him to the doctor and got the same story, a little MOM and make him sit on the bowl for 15 minutes or more until he goes, do this every day. Fat chance to battle a kid.

So I had to do my own research. It's encopresis and there was a schedule of the non-addictive laxatives. But at first to do an enema, no way on a kid for me. So I gave him a dose of that sulfa stuff that you take before an ultrasound to clean out. And adult would be done in 1/2 hour, it didn't work on him for 8 hours. Same with MOM. But we did the sulfa the first day and then MOM for a week. He was going but still big.

Now the reason is every time the child or person holds it for days, the bowl is stretching out of proportion. So each time it gets longer and longer in between movements because it takes longer for the sensation to "go" to occur. So now it could be 5 days, but fear of pain keeps them holding it in for as long as they can.

So I did this in June when school ended. And while still large movements but going daily, when he returned to school I noticed it happening again a month later. That's because what everyone says here, they are not given enough time in the bathroom and plus they won't do number 2 in school, it's a mind over matter issue for them.

But back the bed wetting, when he would do his duty, the wetting stopped for about 3 days and would resume while the pooh built up and pressed on his bladder. Once he went, it relaxed but this was a viscous cycle.

He's now a teenager and his problem has been resolved for a few years now but with a lot of work on both our parts.

Doctors are not really experts on this and older pediatricians really think it's a power thing to make your kids go to the bathroom. They can sit for an hour and if they don't want to go they will not.

The MOM will help but this can take 6 months to resolve. After a few weeks, the kids will attempt going without it.

The glass of warm tap water does help to relax their stomachs, cold does not. They can sip little cups while sitting on the bowl.

The wheat out of the diet will also help the digestive system as well as cutting out some dairy products as well.

While you can get them to move daily, it will take a long time almost a year or sometimes a little longer, for the colon to shrink and the size to go down (width). But it will because every day they go, it does shrink a little bit as it isn't getting stretched.

Good luck. I went through it. I would not want another child to go through what my son did, while not life threatening, very very painful and uncomfortable. I being the mother had all the patience, Dad would get mad with the bed wetting sometimes till I set him straight...LOL. (could be reversed in other families, this was my situation).

I'm having issues now and afraid to tell my mom. This week hasn't been great for me. I am 23 years old. I have been eating fiber for a week and not a lot come out of me. I drink water always. I heard of grape and cranberry juice and tried and I'm still waiting. Help Me before I go crazy!

I've been having this problem ever since halfway through my pregnancy, and my midwife had me alternating Milk of Magnesia and colace (stool softeners) and daily fish oil caps. The variety of them helps quite a bit in making for smaller, non-clogging BM's. Life is much better!

I don't know that a teaspoon of MoM would really do much, that's the amount recommended for antacid. I take at least two per dose.

I have this problem now it hurts so much I've tried miralax taking bigger doses I've even gone to doctors but they say I'm fine and that I'm healthy and should try eating more fiber. When I was in middle school I would hold in my bm's it would usually take a half an hour for me to get out of the bathroom the restrain was killing me it hurt so much what would you recommend?

please contact me when any news comes up regarding this constipation problem thank you.

My son is 15 and has had this problem since he turned 2. The Dr told us he would grow into it which he has not. He to along with a lot of other children hold their BMs until they get home. As for the over usage toilet paper clogging the toilet. once a child has experienced that size they don't want to use a lot of paper

My son has had this problem since he was 4. He is almost 9 now. A teacher told him that he was taking too long in the bathroom. From that point on, he has been holding it in. He even holds it in at home now.

His stools are HUGE. They clog the toilet, too, which is very embarrising for him. He usually comes home from school with a small stool stain on his underwear from holding it in.

Encopresis is the only "diagnosis" that fit our situation, and it is not one that will go away any time soon. We have tried all of the stool softners, fiber etc... none of which has helped.

Now we just try to cope and help keep him clean. I worry more about the pain of the large bowel movements. He won't say whether they hurt or not. It just breaks my heart to see him go through this and feel so helpless. Just be patient with your daughter. She needs a lot of patience and understanding....and maybe some dietary changes.

I've had this problem (constipation) for 4 years, but it is caused by a pain medication I take (hydrocodone). I can't stop the medication. Recently, I've had problems with the clogging of my toilet in my apartment. It's extremely embarrassing. I don't know what to do! I welcome any comments.

I was never constipated until starting taking lipitor it also creates for me a lot of gas and very hard poop. I have not pooped now in almost four days.

my daughter has been suffering from soiling for years. Then it increased to wetting, so much so that she was wearing pullups to school at the age of 8. We went to doctors, dieticians, eliminated foods etc. nothing worked. We were told it was in her mind, that it was behavioural, Hirschsprungs was even mentioned, that she was still toilet training etc. She used to regularly complain of feeling sick or have frequent tummy upsets.

Finally we found a doctor who diagnosed her with a long/extended colon. She has inherited it form her father's side. We have done several bowel cleanses, she needs to avoid insoluble fibre and eat more soluble fibre. No apples, bananas, potatoes etc and more fruit with juice, lentils etc. She is probably always going to be on a laxative but it must be a water based one such as osmolax. The insoluble fibres make it much worse for her. She has had to learn all over again the feelings of needing to go because the nerves and the muscles were so badly damaged. Eventually her bladder will heal as well. Sometimes we spend ages in toilets out or at home. We always carry wipes and spare undies. It gets her down sometimes.

We have used a psychologist to help with coping with the embarrassment etc. She will always have this problem and always be on a laxative. But we are learning to read the signs and she is getting to know her body. We are getting somewhere, but still a long way to go. Got to keep positive and work together. Our GI has told us to use more doses of laxative when we notice the signs that show she is getting constipated again.

We have frequent trips to the doctor and specialist to monitor. but it is nice to know that someone diagnosed her problem and is prepared to see us through, has helped us to make a plan and follows up. You need to find a really good doctor and persist in getting to a decent specialist. We learnt that not all specialists are any good for us. Keep trying until you get answers, even if they label you a nuisance mum like me. The end result is worth it.

I have struggled with this same problem off and on for a long time, however I recently discovered a major reason for it. I never really had significant problems until I became lactose intolerant. And it's not only products with milk/lactose that will cause it, I've noticed that after developing it my digestive system is much more sensitive to food in general. It addition, I've found that gluten products will aggravate it even more...this observation isn't just from me personally but something I've discovered is common with many of my friends. My biggest suggestion would be to try for a few weeks completely eliminating dairy and gluten products, while upping the amount of water you drink every day. When I adhere to this diet, I have nearly NO problems.

I am having this problem right now with my 11 year old son. A few differences though. He eats TONS of fruit and veggies. Drinks a gallon of water a day, AT LEAST! His bowel movements stop up the commode EVERY time he goes! They are not hard, just HUGE! 8+ inches long and as big around as an apple. He can't 'courtesy flush' because it's only 1 turd ! HELP PLEASE!!!!!!!!!!!!

I am having this problem right now with my 11 year old son. A few differences though. He eats TONS of fruit and veggies. Drinks a gallon of water a day, AT LEAST! His bowel movements stop up the commode EVERY time he goes! They are not hard, just HUGE! 8+ inches long and as big around as an apple. He can't 'courtesy flush' because it's only 1 turd ! HELP PLEASE!!!!!!!!!!!!

I'm having the clogging problem with my 12 yo daughter. She's always had large poops. But now she's grown and so have the turds! We'll work on the fiber more, but I'm thinking a new stronger flushing toilet will save a lot of grief.

When my son was small, his bms were as big around as a can of vegetables, no exaggeration! We had to keep a special trash can by the toilet to store a paint stir stick or wire coat hanger, something to use to break up the mass so it would flush. His Dad would make comments about the toilet clogs and it embarrassed our son. After all, he couldn't help the size of his bm!! And he was too young to use a plunger correctly, so 'Dad' usually had to clear the downstairs toilet. He was very heartless and rude about it...I hated that!

What most people do not realize is that the human body innards DO have natural variations. Even with the right diet and exercise, this does not change the fact that some have a naturally larger bowel than others. On rare occasions there are some that can even pass extremely large stool without a hitch. Modern toilet designers never take this natural variable fact into account and neither do most doctors. So, if your diet and exercise is fine and physically you can easily pass a large stool with predictable regularity and without feeling constipated, then just break it up and flush. Don't hold it in. That is bad for your health. Prior to the invention of the modern toilet I am sure that this was much less of an issue. This despite the fact that prior to our current sedate society of today we did far more physical work and as such required a lot more food intake than today.

keep a brush with a 1 foot handle on it & just break up the large bowel movement & don't let the movement go down all at once when you flush. Keep pushing it around while it is being flushed down.

I'm a 28 year old mom of one. Over the last year, I have had issues with endometriosis and also began to have severe cramping right before a bowel movement and very large stools that clogged the toilet 90% of the time. I eat healthy and drink nothing but water and maybe one cup of coffee a day. I thought the two were related and so focused on some natural remedies for the endo thinking that would help. The endo pain improved but I still had the severe cramping and the large stools.

I went through a liver cleanse with my doctor and realized the during that 21 day cleanse, the cramping disappeared! Then I went about the process of figuring out what was in my diet that could be the culprit.

I returned to my regular diet but eliminated gluten for 2 weeks to see if it was to blame. No change. I did the same experiment with dairy...the results were AMAZING!!!!! No more cramping, no more large stools. Dairy was absolutely the culprit for me.

Everyone is different but a food allergy could definitely cause this. Try eliminated things from you diet in two week intervals. It can take a while to clear all of it out of you system so go the full two weeks to be sure. For me, anytime I slip up and have too much dairy, I feel my symptoms return about 20 hours later after it has gone through my system. I couldn't be more thankful that I found the answer to my problem. Hope this helps someone else too!!

I have the same issue of bowel movements that are so large they always clog the toilet--but it happens to me daily. I don't think I have an issue with constipation. The bowel movements have been like this for a few years now, both when I was eating gluten and after I stopped--no change. I have no pain or difficulty passing the stools, in fact they come out very quickly. I do have POTS (Postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome) and wonder if it could be related to that because before a bowel movement I start to get a faster heart rate and feel anxious, as well as during, and after the bowel movement, and afterward it takes me a while to catch my breath. It's no wonder as I am sometimes losing about 3-4 lbs per bowel movement (based on weighing myself before and after).

If I were to guess the length it seems like they can be about two feet and obviously very wide. They are formed but not compacted. The thing is that I don't eat that much and I have a fairly healthy weight. My diet is vegetarian and almost vegan in reality, and I do now eat gluten free because of some labs that showed I may have celiac (although a follow-up test during a gluten challenge was negative, but I do have family members with celiac so I am playing it safe, and it does seem to reduce my stomach upset and acid reflux).

I do have symptoms that cause me to spend a lot of time lying in bed, which could be a factor. I also take Paxil, Ativan, and a small dose of Seroquel. I've seen a gastroenterologist who had no suggestions except to flush the toilet in the middle of the BM! His advice was more plumbing oriented than health oriented!

I am concerned that these bowel movements will stretch out my intestines which can cause cancer through wear-and-tear, as I have read on an alternative health web-site. I am not sure what mainstream doctors think about that. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem to be a subject they have studied based on my interactions with my gastroenterologist.

PLEASE, I am suffering from not having regular bowel movement, nothing, very, very little, just water, air pass when I go to toilet. I have this problem for the last 35 years now I am 62 I had done so many endoscopy and colonoscopy tests.

Colonoscopy test was normal but endoscopy test shows gastric wounds in the stomach. I took treatments for gastric problem for so many years, but still I have bowl movement problem, it is worse now.

I do daily exercise, drink lot and lot of water, eat lot of fruits and vegetables and no meat and at all. I am desperate now. So many doctors and so much of medicines... laxative medicines like DULCOLAX has no any result..2, 3, 4, or even more tablets are not answering..horrible, desperate.

Please advise me very sincerely a personal advice with a proper medicine and a laxative tablet for me to use daily, will be very highly appreciated

Thank you very much

Appreciating you help


It's not constipation. honestly I have it too. Even if it takes three days to pass it's more likely caused by the fear of going than by constipation. I go every day, I would like to consider myself a delicate lady otherwise but, no. Things like colace and milk of magnesia add bulk. They're designed to add moisture to the stool but all that does is swell them up. Fiber is also a lost cause. My diet consists mostly of kale, spinach and other vegetables and fruits, tofu and whole grains. The doctors don't seem to think it's a problem and they always dismiss it. I have been very persistent. I've heard "modern plumbing is just not designed to accommodate a healthy bowel movement." A. it's not healthy and B. shut up.

It's painful, it's awful and it has little to do with diet. I've been diagnosed with IBS but the more I look into it the less I believe that's really whats going on. It doesn't fluctuate back and forth - its always huge and painful. I've read that it has to do with something stripping the bacteria from the walls of your colon. I suspect it might be related to gluten- that's the only thing I haven't tried. I suspect a low starch diet might help and that's my next course of action.

My daughter has this problem too and it's heart wrenching. I honestly have no words for what it's like - its ridiculous. One thing I know for sure though is that nobody can tell me to add more fiber to my diet. That's been done and laxatives might be a step in the completely wrong direction if she's anything like me.

This will seem unpopular but if the toilet is getting clogged and the children are not constipated or having hard stools, I think you should have them squat on the floor in the bathroom and have the BM in a trash bag and toss it out like it was a dirty disposable diaper. Also, squatting is the best way to have complete and easy BMs. Just a pragmatic solution seems to me.

We have terrible old plumbing & the clogging problem. What works for us is to squirt some blue Dawn original dish washing liquid in the toilet & let it sit a few minutes before flushing. Also flush paper separately & only use one ply paper. The nice cushy soft 2 ply toilet paper causes major clogs.

We have terrible old plumbing & the clogging problem. What works for us is to squirt some blue Dawn original dish washing liquid in the toilet & let it sit a few minutes before flushing. Also flush paper separately & only use one ply paper. The nice cushy soft 2 ply toilet paper causes major clogs.

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